How neighbourhood impacts partner abuse

Toronto, June 1 (IANS) People who enjoy more social support, including trust and a sense of belonging, are less likely to experience emotional or verbal abuse while in a relationship, says a study.

People who were living in a neighbourhood without many social and economic issues were also less likely to experience such abuse, the findings showed.

However, the researchers found that participation in community groups such as women’s groups or sports clubs, could also indicate experiencing physical violence at the hands of a partner in the last two years.

“This finding may be due to the fact that victims, who live in neighbourhoods with social and economic disorder reach out because they feel isolated,” said the study’s main author, Patricia O’Campo from St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, in Canada.

“Intimate-partner violence can be an exceptionally isolating experience, and many people are unsure where to go for help,” O’Campo said.

Intimate-partner violence includes emotional, physical and sexual violence and can affect both men and women.

“Some turn to social or church gatherings to overcome their seclusion,” O’Campo added.

In the study, more than 2,400 individuals in Toronto were randomly selected and asked to respond a series of questions in face-to-face interviews.

Fifty-two percent were female; 70 percent were between the ages of 25 and 50. Fourteen percent had experienced non-physical intimate-partner violence, while eight percent experienced physical intimate-partner violence in the two years prior to the interview.

Estimates of experience with intimate-partner violence among women range from 10 to 70 percent for physical violence and three to 60 percent for sexual violence by a partner globally.

Less is known about the worldwide prevalence of inter-partner violence among men.

The study was published in the American Journal of Community Psychology.

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